Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has told any clubs potentially considering signing Jack Grealish to forget it.
Smith has been speaking to The Mirror ahead of tonight’s clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Grealish has been a revelation in Smith’s team this season, highlighted once again during his goalscoring performance at Manchester United on Sunday.
The 24-year-old has been tipped by some pundits and experts with a move to the Red Devils. Smith, however, has hinted they should forget it.
He told The Mirror: “I’ve seen speculation in the press with pundits linking him with other clubs. What they don’t realise is I’ve worked with this kid for 14 months, he tells the story himself of jumping into a bush in the garden at six-years-old, pretending it was the Holte End.
“He’s Villa through and through. He’s playing well, scoring goals, creating assists and doing it at the club he loves.
“Jack signed a new deal at the start of last season. They can keep linking him but this is the one club he loves and that is probably the most important thing.”
Aston Villa won promotion last season after a remarkable end of season run which saw them edge into the play-offs.
Grealish was part of that meteoric rise up the Championship and Smith believes he can now fulfil his ambitions with Villa.
He continued: “We’ve got two very wealthy owners who want to build the team around Jack.
“Wolves got promoted last year, I didn’t see Neves getting linked with Manchester United. This isn’t a small club at Aston Villa.
“We’ve got two bullionaire owners who bought the club for a reason, to get it back into the Premier League.”
The £35,000-a-week (Spotrac) star has five goals and five assists this season and during the last month, he has really come of age.
The England hopeful is certainly Villa’s most integral performers and losing him isn’t an option.
Smith is defiant though and that will delight the club’s supporters.
After signing so many players during the summer it has taken the Villans some time to settle down. The potential is massive, however.
If Villa can maintain their Premier League status they have the infrastructure, fanbase and financial backing to become a real force. Grealish will feel he can be a real part of that.